How to help your teen daughter manage heartbreak
Breakups are never easy. What’s more, teenage daughter breakups tend to be the messiest of them all. While we know breakups can be emotionally painful, they can be physically painful, too. In fact, receptors in the brain perceive unwanted breakups in the same way they perceive physical pain. The first cut is, indeed, the deepest.
Many tears, erratic behaviors, and even depressive episodes can be the result of a teenage daughter breakup. It can be difficult for parents to understand their teenage daughter after a breakup, much less console them and make them feel better. Luckily, we’ve compiled a few tips to help every parent manage teenage daughter breakups.
Do something fun
Never underestimate the power of distraction. Teenage daughter breakups can have your daughter feeling anxious, confused, depressed, and more. An easy way to alleviate some of this pressure is to invite your teenage daughter to a fun activity, perhaps one of their favorite outings. Taking time to grab some ice cream, find a new outfit, or go to a movie will give you and your daughter the time to focus on something else. This break for fun will help alleviate the stress caused by your teenage daughter’s breakup.
What’s more, she may be more willing to talk about the breakup and her emotions after the outing is over. However, you never ever want to pressure your teenage daughter into an activity. If she doesn’t want to go out or open up about the break up just yet, give her time. Depending on your daughter and the relationship that ended, it may take a while for her to open up about her recent breakup. Instead of pushing the issue due to your own curiosity, it’s best to let your daughter take her time in opening up to you. Teenage daughter breakups can be very distressful, and your daughter will need some time to process all of her emotions.
Listen without judgment
When the time does come and your daughter wants to talk, be sure to listen without judgment. Give her time to get everything off her chest. While some of her comments or responses may seem silly (“I thought we would be together forever!” or “We were supposed to get married!”), try your best to let her do all the talking. If she doesn’t ask for advice, don’t tell her what you think of the breakup, the ex-boyfriend, or what she should do. Just remind her of how wonderful she is as a person and everything she has going for her. If your daughter does seek advice, simply tell her these things take time to heal, and it’ll all be okay.
If your daughter decides to open up about the situation more, describing how hurt she was by the breakup, consider utilizing empathy in the conversation. Empathy is a great tool for connecting that will allow your daughter to feel safe and understood when describing this unfortunate experience. Assuring your daughter that you understand how she may feel hurt by what someone said or did during the breakup will make her feel less alone. Remember, you don’t want to minimize or dismiss your daughter’s emotions after a teenage daughter breakup. Make her experience feel valid by telling her you understand where she’s coming from.
You can take empathy one step further by discussing an early breakup or heartbreak you experienced. Allowing your daughter to listen to your experience with a heartbreak may make her feel understood. Although, be observant before you immediately start to open up. The last thing your daughter wants after her breakup is to hear you ramble about your past breakups.
Survive the aftershock
Teenage daughter breakups are a wild ride. Given this fact, be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions. The aftershock of the breakup can last a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. The most important thing to do during this time is to learn how to ride the wave. Your daughter will likely exhibit some strange behavior post-breakup. Try your best to be as understanding and patient as possible. Remember your first heartbreak? It’s not easy, and it surely isn’t fun. Time may heal all wounds, but everyone heals at their own pace.
To help your teenage daughter transition after the breakup, attempt to reintroduce some routine into her life. Focusing on daily tasks like homework and chores can help take your daughter’s mind off the breakup. Be patient, though, as some days she might not be up for much. Encourage her to engage in her daily activities without pressuring her too much. Finally, you should be very observant of your teenage daughter during this time. You may even want to speak with her friends about her behaviors when she is at school or extracurricular activities. If your daughter exhibits symptoms of depression, eating problems, sleeping too much or too little, self-harm, or suicide, make sure to get her the help she needs. Sometimes parents don’t always have the answers. Thankfully, there are youth professional counselors and psychiatrists who are trained to handle these situations with care. Ask your primary health care provider for a referral to a mental health professional who handles teen therapy.
Although teenage daughter breakups can be a lot to handle, these tips will help you survive this turbulent time. Just remember to be patient, understanding, and observant, and this period will soon be over.